Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Slayer hunts vampires, Buffy is a Slayer, don't tell anyone. Well, I think that's all the vampire information you need.

I recently started rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, from the beginning, which I haven’t done in...years? A friend (Kathleen!) mentioned that she wants her BF (Jason!) to watch the show and asked for my help narrowing down which episodes from seasons 1 - 5 he should definitely, definitely watch. My first thought was that he should watch all of them, but I understand some people don’t like to make that kind of commitment, so I figured I’d TRY to narrow it down, at least. I plan on addressing each season as soon as I finish it. We’ll see if that holds up.

Out of all of the seasons of Buffy, I’d be most likely to skip episodes from the first. There’s a certain charm to the first season, all low production values and awkward acting, but if you’re short on time, you’d be OK skipping most of it, especially since so much Buffy-lore has seeped into pop culture consciousness by now.

Here are the episodes that are simply must watch in order to understand the show:

Welcome to the Hellmouth: Buffy moves to Sunnydale, meets her Watcher (Giles!), and those who will become her friends (Xander! WILLOW!) and frenemy (Cordelia). Also, Darla. Also, The Master. I think Angel shows up in this one? Probably?
The Harvest: Darla, The Master, and the Alien Bounty Hunter from The X-Files are up to shenanigans. Buffy tries to stop them.
Never Kill a Boy On the First Date: Buffy tries to date and be the Slayer at the same time. It goes about as well as you’d expect.
Angel: There’s more to Angel than would first appear but you probably already know about it by now.
Prophecy Girl: Buffy vs. The Master (FINALLY).

Here are the ones I’d watch, just because they’re fun:

Witch: Cheerleading and witchery! Also introduces Amy who will be (spoiler alert) somewhat important later.
Nightmares: This one is creepy but not the greatest. It actually reminds me more of an episode of The X-Files than Buffy.
Out of Mind, Out of Sight: Actually, same for this one. Maybe that’s why I like them. Huh. Anyway, this one is worth it because of the awesome Clea DuVall.

And finally, the ones I’d skip altogether, because YIKES:

Teacher’s Pet: Xander and a bug lady. No, thank you.
The Pack: Xander becomes a hyena and is mean to Willow. NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH. 
I, Robot...you, Jane: Willow falls in love with a demon she met online, on second thought WHAT AM I SAYING WATCH THIS IMMEDIATELY. (Bonus! The introduction of Jenny Calendar).
The Puppet Show: Ventriloquism. Enough said.


  1. So here's the deal: I have absolutely hated SMG ever since she was the original Kendall on AMC. Would I be able to watch Buffy without wanting to stab her/myself in the eyeballs?

  2. That's really tough because, as I seem to recall, Buffy, like so many main characters whose name appears in the title of the show (see also: Dawson Leery, Meredith Grey), can be pretty insufferable at times. So that could be a problem. But the supporting characters are all (seriously ALL) so great, I think that more than makes up for it.

  3. Kat: You should watch Buffy. I didn't like SMG before watching, either, and while Buffy was never my favorite character, the show itself is so good it doesn't matter who's playing her. Also, the rest of the characters are amazeballs, so.

    Jennie: I really really think every episode of this show should be watched, but with that said, I think this list does the best job possible in weeding out the badness. Pretty much after season one, though, you can't really skip around very much without missing crucial stuff. I fucking love serialized TV.

  4. I totally agree! As I've been watching season two, it's become increasingly obvious to me that there are very few episodes I just wouldn't watch. (I thought I could skip Inca Mummy Girl at first, but that's the first appearance of Oz! OZ!)

  5. I love all Buffy episodes, even the "bad ones." Well, except for "Killed By Death" because, a) I was SUPER sick when I watched it the first time, and b) Buffy is SUPER sick through the whole thing which made me feel even more sick, so c) I am traumatized, and d) that creepy fuck of a monster scares the shit out me.

  6. Ooh, I'm not to that one yet! It's not one I remember very well, probably because I was traumatized by the one that comes before it. :( :( :(

  7. But that one is sooo gooooood.

  8. I LOVE "Out of Sight Out of Mind." One of my favorites from season one. I had planned on skipping all the Xander centric eps because Xander is a tool in the first season. He's a tool later, too, but we know him better so it's OK. Thanks for your list, Jennie!

  9. If you skip"Inca Mummy Girl" you miss out on Xander's awesome "food feeling"quote.

  10. Kathleen, Xander IS SUCH A TOOL. I feel like I didn't notice it as much before, but I spend a lot of time thinking, "shut up Xander." I mean, I still love him, of course, but SHUT UP, XANDER.

    MetalFRO, plus Willow's costume! She is the cutest.

  11. I have Buffy in my Netflix queue! One of these nights, when I still have some brain power left after putting the kids to bed, I'm going to start it. I know once I start, I'm going to watch it straight through, cramming in as much per day as I can. I'm SO excited. Oh, and I've never seen it before. I just figure it's time for me to add a bit of pop culture reference to my life, lol.

  12. Ooh, definitely watch it! I love it so much. Just remember that after the first season, it gets much, much better. That's not to say the first season is TERRIBLE but, you know, it's rough.